The First Days of the Top Affiliate Challenge

  • Comments: 13
  • Written on: July 4th, 2008

I finally have found a moment to write something on my shinny new blog since the start of the show. We have had some amazing things happen and were also forced to overcome some massive challenges. Here is what we have experienced from a technical side since the start of the show:

  1. Epic Failure with the Web Stream. We are streaming 200-300MB files for the show and delivering pretty good quality for the compression. At least we are now. When the first episode launched I dramatically underestimated the number of people who would tune in out of curiosity.

    Between 1:00 and 4:00 on July 1st, more than 1,300 people attempted to play that stream.We had purchased Amazon bandwidth and had a really nice rack in place to handle the load. I overlooked the pipe. Rookie mistake and TOTALLY my bad.

    We quickly exceeded what a 10/100 wire could handle and that is why the streaming crapped out.Since then we have added two dual core Xeon servers, a Frontier load balancer, and another chunk of bandwidth to our account just to be safe. The video has been served to over 1,000 viewers today with no problems (that I have heard about anyway)

  2. Spotty Wireless Internet. Schrock Innovations added routers to the hotel’s wireless internet to help cover the few dead spots there were, but of course, those weak signal areas happened to be where our teams were working.

    Schrock dropped a direct wire in place and now everyone has Internet. It’s DSL and its getting hammered pretty hard, so it drops occasionally. We are working on getting a high speed cable modem in here by Monday..

  3. Drama vs. Education. When we started the show, we knew there was not enough time to be dramatic and be informative in a 30 minute episode. That is what we designed the bonus footage page for. We could mention an affiliate tactic and then drop a lower third referencing a second video for more information about the tactic.

    I think I went a little overboard on the drama aspect. We will correct that in upcoming episodes. Expect a LOT more education and more predictable scenarios for contestants.

  4. Production and Editing. No one has ever turned a show around as quickly as we are doing. Even though we are now running on a 48 hour episode delay, we are producing each episode in a 24 hour period. Yes, there is some chrome missing, lower, thirds, and Monica’s script is even visible in one of the shots.Even with all of that out there, I wish you could see our crew and editing team in action. Don and Miriam are amazing at what they do and they know exactly how much can get done and still have the episode out the door on time.

    Some people have said some pretty nasty things about the quality of the show, but anyone who has actually DONE something like this can imagine the amazing pressure.

    We have 24 hours to produce the show, so we edit until the wee hours, click render and then go to bed. If ANYTHING goes wrong we have to re-render. Then we have to upload the show. Then we have to test the show (God forbid it corrupted on upload). Then finally we can make it live at 1:00 and move the previous day’s show to the watch page.

    To be honest, the original concept for this show called for $1,000 camcorders. Thanks to Don and Mariam we have over $17,000 in gear and a live switching studio IN A HOTEL. We want the hotel in the shots because it proves a point. You can make money anywhere in the world with affiliate marketing. Even in a hotel in Lincoln, NE.

Every one of us knew that SOMETHING would go wrong. When things went wrong our cast has been AMAZINGLY supportive of our efforts and forgiving – probably more forgiving than I would have been. All of them have my undying gratitude for that. I am sure there is some grumbling, and maybe a little concern over all of the negative reviews on the web. All of the negativity even started to get me down a little.

Rather than stewing or fighting back or arguing I am just going to take some of the critics’ advice and implement it. A lot of the people who have things to say about the show are affiliate marketers themselves. They are our audience and we need to deliver to them. That’s the whole point of this show.

With that said, I would like to get your comments. I want to know what you think we should do differently. I have already tipped our hand a little, but if there is something specific you want to know about affiliate marketing – something you want to have explained from the show, then tell me. We will do our best to deliver.

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